All dogs in England must by law be microchipped by 6 April 2016, the government has announced.
Government figures show that over 100,000 dogs are abandoned or lost every year, costing taxpayers and animal welfare charities an estimated £57 million. It is hoped that this new law will reduce the number of stray and stolen dogs, helping reunite more with their owners and reduce the strain on animal charities.
Environment secretary Owen Paterson said: “It’s ludicrous that in a nation of dog-lovers, thousands of dogs are roaming the streets or stuck in kennels because the owner cannot be tracked down. Microchipping is a simple solution that gives peace of mind to owners. It makes it easier to get their pet back if it strays and easier to trace if it’s stolen.”
Owners who do not fulfil the microchipping requirement may be fined up to £500, but with an ever-growing number of dog thefts it’s no wonder the government and police want to roll out a compulsory microchipping policy.
Similarly, legislation concerning dog attacks will be changed to include incidents occurring on private property. This will mean that a legal loophole whereby owners whose dogs attack people on private property cannot be prosecuted will be terminated.